“Cigarettes are widely known as cancer sticks – why not put “smoking causes cancer” on every cigarette to remind smokers every time they pull out a fag. Graphic warnings should be printed on every single cigarette,” said Arnott.

Smokers become desensitized to plain packaging

A survey of over 2,000 smokers and non-smokers, indicated that current strategies such as plain packaging, are less effective for smokers.

A study by Aaron Drovandi from James Cook University in Queensland, surveyed over 2,000 smokers and non-smokers in order to determine the effectivity of current smoking cessation approaches. He found that although a significant number of Australians have quit smoking in recent decades, current strategies such as plain cigarette packaging, are less effective for smokers.

Drovandi’s findings indicated that most smokers had become desensitized to warnings on plain tobacco packaging, saying that individual warnings may be more effective than graphic pictures on packets.

Individual warnings more off putting than plain packaging

Similarly, a 2017 study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, involving nearly a thousand participants aged between 16 and 24 from the UK, indicated that for both smokers and non-smokers, unattractively coloured cigarettes carrying health warnings were rated significantly less favourably than the regular plain white cigarettes.

Researchers argue that informative health warnings on individual cigarettes, such as how many minutes of life a smoker loses each time they inhale, would be more effective at helping people kick the habit for good. The experts think that having a warning about the health impact or financial consequence on every single cigarette, would be a better deterrent than graphic pictures which have lost their shock value.

The “obvious next step”

CEO of ASH Deborah Arnott, supports the idea. ”The government admits it needs to do more if it is to achieve its ambition of a ‘smoke-free’ England by 2030, meaning less than 0.5 per cent of the population smoke,” adding, “Warnings on cigarettes is an obvious next step.”

She added that the idea is already under consideration in Scotland, Australia and Canada. “Smokers themselves say it could help them quit, and it would also be the clearest warning possible to children not to start.”

Read Further: Metro

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